NieR has always been one of those franchises that intrigued me but it always felt like a huge time commitment to actually start playing the games. So when NieR:Automata anime was announced in early 2022, I was thrilled. Finally, someone would adapt the highly praised story and we’d be able to enjoy it in anime format. Experienced players raised concern about the adaptation format, saying it might be too difficult to successfully adapt something with so many endings but as more information about the staff and the studio came in and the first promo materials started popping up, I grew hopeful. The hype was real and I became a part of it. After waiting for the premiere to drop on Crunchyroll all day I finally sat down to watch it and I must say that the result wasn’t what I was hoping for.
First off, let me say that the premiere may not be indicative of the rest of the anime but right now I am only going to focus on it because it is all we have. The whole episode felt dull, for lack of a better word. We got a (very) brief introduction to the world of NieR:Automata, we meet 2B and 9S and we watched them get to know each other and fight. But this whole experience felt like a slideshow; a recap of the game’s highlights from this specific quest if you will. It didn’t feel particularly engaging and I found myself checking how much was left.
As far as the animation goes, it was faithful to the trailers (nine of them) and it featured some fairly impressive action scenes. The CGI was decent and it didn’t stand out too much. The beige and brown really helped convey the setting, but we still have little information about it so this just feels oversaturated at times. 2B was given a lot of love and her battle scenes are the exact replica of the cutscenes in the game – if you loved those, you will enjoy these in the anime, as they were very satisfying to watch.
Overall, the episode wasn’t bad just underwhelming. It is possible the hype got the best of us and it is very likely that the experience will improve as the story goes further. I hope the next episodes will focus on worldbuilding and character development, instead of trying to copy the game’s action scenes, which while impressive, don’t do much for the non-players who are not familiar with the background. The effort and quality (probably the general budget too) are there, this adaptation just needs a little bit of soul.
NieR:Automata Ver1.1a is streaming on Crunchyroll.
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